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This is articles that I published on February.

SYSTEMA is one of the most simple to learn and employ Martial Arts in the world. And that what make it sophisticated. The fact that there are no techniques and no differentiation between attack and defense make SYSTEMA easy to learn and employ. If you can learn how to be natural and relaxed, you will be able to find movement that is right for you. It will be reaction that was inherited into your survival instincts by earliest generation.

As SYSTEMA itself, topic of strikes is very simple and complex issue. It is totally based on principles and your ability to feel yourself and your opponent.

There are two general ways how we punch: “slapping” and “pushing” motions. Think as an example of hitting with the stick or using whip. Learning both of those motions is very important, although it is important as well to learn when to employ each.

Strike hard with soft, and soft with hard. For example, if you want to hit stomach (soft) use your fist (hard). However, in order to hit face (hard), it is safer to use your palms (soft). I am not saying that going soft on soft, and hard on hard is wrong. It’s just takes more experience and training to make it work.

SYSTEMA is system of life. So, it should help you to survive, not to hurt you. Therefore learn how to hurt opponent, but not yourself. You must keep your “form”- posture straight. It will make your breathing natural and body strong. During contact between your fist and person’s body you will acquire inertial and powerful wave back to you. Stronger you hit your partner, more intense wave will hit back Therefore, by keeping your arm completely straight, you take more chances to damage yourself.

In order to avoid these traumas, your arm during punch must be bent and relaxed in elbow and shoulder. Only part that you need to make “full”- to tens up, should be your wrist and forearm. By doing so, you will make inertial power to escape through your elbow, without damaging your shoulder. You must start motion of your strike from your arm, and not from legs or hips, like in boxing. The only one way to make it work is to relax your shoulder and elbow. Legs and body start moving when your strike reached the intended target. Then your hips and legs will move towards the direction of your punch.

Punch must not just hit surface or intended target, but go through opponent. By going through you will be able not only to hurt body, but also aim into internal organs. Using these punches will let you move person and affect his/here balance rather just surface muscles. It is very crucial to breath out during punch, keep your “form”, and stay relaxed during punching.

Surface of your fist or palm should have flat and comfortable contact with the target during your punch. Only then your strike will go through and have maximum and best affect on attacker. It also makes your strike less dangerous to your wrist that can twist and collapse if it is not flat to surface.

You do not need to prepare your punch. It should go from any position and any motion of your body that are naturally moving towards the opponent. Instead of getting ready and placing your body into specific “ready for punch” position, just start listening to your body intuition. Find out how are you moving under stress of attack, be natural and follow your instincts. During fight, there is always some part of your body that naturally will be moving toward your opponent.

For example, if someone attacked and you avoided attack by stepping out to your left, your left arm would move forward just as a natural reaction to keep balance. Think that it’s also moving towards your attacker. Therefore, use it for you punch. Only this kind of motion will be natural beginning to your punch. And your punch will be just continual, natural motion of your body.

All punches are your natural movements that do not have beginning or ending. Our life does not have pauses. It is always in motion. As soon as you pause you die. Identical meaning we are sharing with our punches. Your punches should not have reset motion that we see in boxing or most oriental martial arts. For example in Karate when punching hand going forward to strike, simultaneously opposite hand moves backward to reset. In SYSTEMA each and other motion you do, should have ability to start combination of punches without the pauses. Use circle motion of your relaxed shoulder and elbow to create any movement that is comfortable and natural for you. Single movement of the arm that consists of two or three punches, we call “double” or “triple” punches.

Your strikes should move opponent from one punch to another. In SYSTEMA strikes should not have any limitation. You should be able to punch from any distance, from any direction, and you can punch from and to any direction, you have to understand how to trap your attacker. For example by being scared of your punch or hit by your arm, attacker will be moving his body. So, your next strike should be going towards the place where your attacker will be moving. It will look like that your opponent is moving and damaging himself by hitting his face with your fists.

One strike should also distract your attacker from another strike. For example attack to the groin or knee, distract and tack tension away from throat or eyes. You may ask, how to learn all these punches, since in SYSTEMA we are not using punching bags? First, you need to learn how to push you partner. Your hand and shoulder must be relaxed. You need to learn how to move your partner, and not just a part of his body. At the begging use only your hand, without motion of your body or legs.

Do not forget: keep your form, breath, relax, and be natural.

Arkadiy Stepankovskiy

p.s. look for this article using this link:

Arkadiy Stepankovskiy

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